Six Irish Students Dead in Berkeley Balcony Collapse Didn’t Have to Die

by Steed Dropout
June, 22, 2015

“Why does anything have to die!””—Annon.


Thirty minutes before a downtown balcony crashed onto a lower balcony, spilling six partiers to their deaths on the sidewalk—Berkeley police received a loud party complaint.

But the cops were tied up on a fireworks complaint and reports of gunshots, according to a staffer in the mayor’s office.

According to those familiar with such noise interventions, the cops would have cleared the faulty balcony, immediately. Whether they would have determined the balcony unsafe is anyone’s guess.

They might have noticed that thirteen students jammed onto the less-than five by five foot trap of a balcony was dangerous. They might have warned the students.

Even had there not been something terribly wrong—premature dry-rot—with the balcony, someone might have perceived it was top-heavy with birthday party revelers.

“I wouldn’t have gone out on that balcony,” a Berkeley Architect told me, but “I’m an architect.”

News dispatches, last week, told of the ferocious balcony crash (one nearby resident told me it sounded like an earthquake) that killed six Irish students studying at U.C. Berkeley’s summer session.

A retired Berkeley Physics professor told me that stress from thirteen partiers crammed into a space no larger than a walk-in closet might have been enough to bring down the balcony.

An attorney told me that, the students’ behavior could be estimated as no more than five percent a causal factor in the tragedy. “Besides,” the attorney added, the property owners bear full responsibility.


Past Irish summer students at Cal are legendary for terrorizing Berkeley’s South side with pub brawls and noisy parties where police have tangled with them.

A few years ago, this reporter was drawn to his front door by the sounds of revelers. The reporter went to his door to find half a dozen drunken Irish student celebrants hooting and hollering at one A.M. near a stairway entrance.

As the reporter opened his door to confront them, he was met with a wave of pee. All the reporter could muster was, “Nice stream,” as the pee stream from above arched and splat near his door.

Some of the Irish women, seemed repulsed by the reporter’s comment and left with their male pee-champ.

The first thing we thought when we learned the balcony collapse was downtown: “maybe the dead students wound up on that crammed downtown balcony, near the main library, because no one would rent to them on the South side.”

Why does anything have to die!”

Comments are closed.